SMS is one of the most ubiquitous forms of communication today, used by billions of people worldwide. Over the course of this year, we’ve worked with the mobile industry on an initiative to upgrade SMS for users, to provide a better, more enhanced messaging experience through RCS (Rich Communications Services). And now more than 58 carriers and manufacturers, collectively covering a subscriber base of 4.7 billion people globally, have committed to supporting a single, standard implementation of RCS.
Today, we’re excited to announce the next step in this initiative with our first carrier launch supporting the new universal RCS profile. Together with Sprint, we’re launching RCS messaging to their customers using Android devices, starting today. This will bring enhanced features including group chat, high-res photo sharing, read receipts, and more to the standard messaging experience on Android. Sprint subscribers will have their standard SMS experience upgraded through the Messenger app for Android devices, developed by Google. The service will be powered by the Jibe RCS cloud from Google.
Next year, all new Android devices from Sprint will come with Messenger for Android preloaded as the default SMS and RCS messaging experience. Subscribers currently using select LG and Nexus phones from Sprint will have the messaging experience upgraded automatically through an app update, and subscribers using other Android devices can download Messenger from the Play store.
We’re excited to see this first launch of RCS come to life, providing a better carrier messaging experience for millions of people in the U.S. We look forward to launching RCS with more partners in the coming months.